The Civil Litigation team at Farleys Solicitors LLP have played an instrumental part in the dismissal of a case against ex-professional football player Peter Fox, who was accused of historic serious intimate physical assault. The former Stoke City player was accused of two incidents of assault against a youth apprentice between 1986 and 1987.
Led by Partner Michael Corrigan, Farleys were able to establish that much of the claimant’s evidence was false and unreliable, and collate evidence for the defendant Mr Fox to enable him to obtain a dismissal of the claim. Not easy in a 30 year old historic abuse case. Following the trial at Preston Crown Court, which lasted over three weeks, His Honour Judge Butler dismissed the claim. The claimant has been ordered to pay the legal costs of Mr Fox and Stoke City Football Club, estimated to be in excess of £400,000.
The Judgment brings an end to a six year legal battle after allegations against Peter Fox were first made in 2009. Since then Farleys have continued to advise Mr Fox, providing legal counsel throughout what has understandably been an extremely difficult period. Upon retiring from playing football in 1997, Peter Fox continued to pursue a career in coaching as a goalkeeping coach at Blackpool, Preston North End and also coaching at the Youth Academy at Blackburn Rovers – the latter of these he was forced to resign from in light of the unfounded allegations.
In his Judgment, His Honour Judge Butler held:
“The witnesses have an agenda of their own to pursue and a financial interest in the outcome of this claim … and that there has been collusion between them if not between them and the Claimant GB such that their evidence should be discounted as being unreliable. Their evidence individually and collectively, provides no credible support for the Claimant’s claim”.
The Judge also made reference to witnesses “jumping on the bandwagon” in order to try and claim compensation.
Commenting on the verdict Peter Fox stated:
“In 2009, false and historic claims dating back to 1986 and 1987 were made against me and some of my former Stoke City team mates. These untrue claims were made in the hope of being awarded a large amount of money”.
“Thankfully this horrendous ordeal which myself and my family have unjustly had to endure is now over. We have been through hell over the past six years and now in light of the decision can finally move forward”.
“This period has been extremely distressing, impacting on every aspect of our lives. It has not only tarnished my reputation but has also damaged that of Stoke City – a great club founded on community spirit”.
“Whilst I am very happy with this judgment, it sadly can’t detract from the strain this protracted case has caused. I have not only been forced to resign from the coaching job I loved, my wife and I were also forced to withdraw from the fostering programme we had been participating in at the time the allegations were first made against me”.
“I would like to thank the Football Community which has supported me throughout and my legal adviser Michael Corrigan of Farleys Solicitors for his unwavering support and advice over these past few years. I would also like to extend my thanks to my barrister Joseph Mulderig. Myself and my wife Lesley, who has been my rock throughout this ordeal, can now rebuild our lives”.
Commenting on the decision, Michael Corrigan, Head of Civil Litigation at Farleys, said:
“Throughout the course of his career at Stoke City Football Club, Peter Fox attained legendary status, appearing 447 times for the club. His reputation, not to mention his work and family life, could have been destroyed by these allegations but for his strength of character and that of his family and his former team mates at Stoke City. The judgment in this case is a damning dismissal of the claim and is testimony for the strength of mind and spirit of Peter Fox and Stoke City Football Club to fight these allegations over a six year period.
“This case goes to prove that justice can be done in historic abuse cases. I hope Peter and his family can now move on – safe in the knowledge that this case has now been dismissed”.
For further information regarding the case or to speak to a member of Farleys’ Civil Litigation team please call 0845 050 1958. Alternatively please complete an online enquiry form.